Frugal Gift-Giving Ideas on a Small Budget

What is your budget per person this year…$10, $5, $0? I’ve got some great gift-giving ideas for any budget, so check them out below. Remember, being frugal means you are stretching your budgeted money to its most potential while getting good quality gifts—it’s not being cheap. And no matter what you have to give, it’s the thought and care that you put into your gift that counts.

If You Have $10

  • Birdfeeders: Purchase a birdfeeder and a bag of birdfeed to get your recipient started (hint: I find that the cheapest bird food can be found at the grocery store, and in particular, Kroger’s). If your friend/family lives in an apartment, or doesn’t have trees, you can purchase a birdfeeder with suction cups to adhere to a window.
  • Isotoner Gloves: I have a pair of these, and absolutely love them!
  • Vera Bradley ID Case: These are great for when you go out and don’t want to carry a purse around. You could also purchase a Vera Bradley eyeglass case.

If You Have $5

  • Reusable Dryer Balls: These will make your clothes soft without using dryer sheets, as well as dry your clothes more quickly (a money saver!).
  • A Magazine Subscription: Check out Amazon.com’s magazine clearance section, which routinely includes one year subscriptions to magazines for $5 or less such as Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, etc. Also check out Magazines.com which always has magazines on sale for $5 or less.
  • A Cup of Joe: A $5 gift card from Starbucks or other coffee shop.
  • A Lottery Ticket: Lottery tickets come in small denominations, with the possibility of winning big. Someone gave us a scratch-off ticket in a card last year, and we won $20! Nice surprise, and it was fun to scratch it off together.
  • Personalized Dated Gift: Buy magazines from antique stores dated the month and year a person was born (tip is from the Tightwad Gazette).
  • Music Gift Card: A $5 Amazon gift card is enough to purchase several songs.
  • A Journal or Diary: I was given my first diary in kindergarten by my aunt and uncle, and have pages upon pages of crayon-written snapshots of my life from the wee age of 6 until now. What a wonderful gift that was.

If You Have $0

  • Upromise Account Opening and Credit Card Gathering: You can roll up the account opening paperwork and wrap a bow around it to present to the parent/child like a diploma. I did this for my niece when I was in college after gathering all of my family’s credit card information, and to date we have $160 in free money for her college education with another 9 years to go!
  • Give Away Your Services: Free babysitting, home cooked Meal, computer services, lawn maintenance, financial services, manicure, hair cut, etc. Get a free template online to make a coupon and print out.
  • Homemade Goodies: Each week when you grocery shop, use some of your budget that you would normally spend on food (like sodas, snacks, etc.) to instead stock up on some baking essentials. Bake different types of cookies and other goodies, and use holiday tins kept (and washed) from years past to give out to friends and family.
  • Clean Their Car: This works well for people that you live with. There is nothing like riding around in a clean car. I used to clean my parents’ car periodically, and boy did they enjoy it! Use cleaning supplies you have around the house. Begin by decluttering, then wash the inside windows, the mirrors, and vacuum the carpets (find an extension cord and use your vacuum’s accessories). Use q-tips for the detail work. A few sprays of a carpet freshener, and you are all finished.
  • Reusable Shopping Bags: Many stores are giving away free reusable shopping bags. Perhaps you have gone to a convention this year, and racked up another ten of these. Might as well put a set together and give them away!  Wrap the bundle with a bow.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

5 Alternative and Creative Gift-Giving Ideas
Homemade Holiday Gifts that Won’t Collect Dust
11 Inexpensive and Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas
30 Days of Homemade Gifts: Make a Gift Basket
9 Great Gift Ideas for People Who Have Everything
9 Homemade Gifts that Might Actually Get Used

4 comments… add one

  • Thanks for the creative ideas, especially in the 0 dollars category. I would be very happy with the UPromise gift for my son, as I imagine most parents would be.

  • Great post, Amanda! I can never get enough of these gift idea articles. :-)

    All the best,

    Len
    Len Penzo dot Com

  • Really good ideas and I totally agree with the car cleaning idea. Maybe I am different than most, but I actually like detailing cars so both me and the clean car recipient win! Thanks for the ideas.

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